CBRC commits $2.7 million to USask CDC barley breeding activities


September 15, 2020 (Saskatoon, SK) – The Canadian Barley Research Coalition (CBRC) announced today it will invest $2.7 million over five years in the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC) through a core breeding agreement to develop barley varieties with improved agronomics, disease resistance and end-use quality.

The CBRC is a collaboration among the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley), Alberta Barley and Manitoba Crop Alliance (formerly the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association).

“The agreement with the CDC ensures that western Canadian barley farmers can expect new and improved barley varieties from a world-class, multi-million dollar breeding program over the next five years,” says CBRC Interim Chair Jason Skotheim and SaskBarley Chair.

“This investment into the CDC breeding program will produce deliverables that will allow our farmers to stay competitive,” Skotheim says. “The last round of producer funding provided to the CDC saw the registration of two new malting varieties, one feed variety and one hulless variety. In the next five years we expect another three varieties to be released. This will have major benefits to our farmers.”

The CDC, which is known for research excellence in developing high-performing crop varieties, is uniquely set up to deliver effective results for western Canadian agriculture. The new agreement will enable the program to expand and capitalize on new opportunities.

“The keys to past success within the CDC barley breeding program have been the skilled staff, the in-house malt and molecular marker labs and the ability to evaluate large numbers of breeding lines,” Skotheim says. “This CBRC funding will support these pillars moving forward.”

Investment in CDC plant breeding activities has helped create new markets and opportunities for a wide variety of crop producers, said CDC barley breeder Aaron Beattie.

“We are very pleased with the long-term funding from the CBRC and appreciate the confidence they have in our program,” he says. “We look forward to continuing to deliver improved varieties to the Canadian barley industry and providing value to all within the value chain.”

Finalizing this agreement with the CDC was the first order of business for the CBRC, officially formed earlier this year, and is in line with the organization’s goal of facilitating long-term investments aimed at improving profitability and competitiveness for western Canadian barley farmers.

The organization will also provide funding for qualifying regional projects that align with variety development and agronomic priorities.

For more information:

Delaney Seiferling
SaskBarley Communications Manager

Erin Tateson
Interim Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions

Kate Menold
MCA Communications Coordinator

Victoria Dinh
USask Media Relations


“Collaboratively investing in barley’s varietal development is key to keeping barley farmers competitive. This core breeding agreement with the CDC will lead to enhanced barley varieties and secures our future with access to competitive and profitable varieties. Stronger agronomic packages and higher yields combined with quality traits that meet the needs of the brewing and malting industry will be the return on this barley breeding investment.” – David Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair

“Manitoba Crop Alliance understands how important it is for breeders to secure long-term funding when developing new varieties and considers programs aimed at improving the competitiveness and profitability of barley farms in western Canada a major priority. We are thrilled to be doing our part to help make this possible through this collaboration with our sister organizations in Saskatchewan and Alberta” – Fred Greig, Manitoba Crop Alliance Chair